Independent grocery stores: Payers' health benefits programs are exclusionary

The National Grocers Association, which represents independent supermarkets, says payers' health benefits programs are excluding independent grocers and their customers.

In a Feb. 22 letter to Biden administration officials, the trade group called for action around commercial plans, especially Medicare Advantage plans, not allowing members to use supplemental health benefit cards at non-chain grocery stores.

"Unfortunately, these restricted-spend cards are preventing these individuals from shopping where they choose and excluding the entire independent grocery segment from program delivery," the letter said.

Though many payers now offer health benefit cards, they usually can't be used between different chains or retailers, thereby negatively impacting independent grocers and their ability to offer healthy options in their communities.

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